What Time Should Baby Wake Up in the Morning?

What Time To Start Baby’s Day. What time should be baby’s wake up time each day? How to calculate and decide baby’s perfect wakeup time. Get answers to the questions you have about how to best schedule your infants morning wake time.

Baby asleep in the crib

What time should you aim to start your baby’s day every day? The answer might surprise you.

When you want to!

Of course, this will be affected by the child’s input also. Many parents who follow a baby sleep schedule wake their baby up sometime in the 7 AM hour.

Here are some things to consider as you choose the time you want to aim for:

  • Choose carefully. This time you choose is likely to last a long time.
  • You can change later with effort.
  • Work around your natural sleep disposition.
  • Work around the baby’s natural sleep disposition.
  • Consider your daily schedule needs and constraints.
  • Work around your daily nap schedule and feeding schedule.
  • Take bedtime into consideration.
  • Start at any minute point on the clock.
  • Consistency is always important.

Let’s now discuss each of these in detail.

Baby looking out the window

The Wake Time You Choose Will Last a Long Time

Your wake time now will likely be your wake time until your child decides that he actually enjoys sleeping in. That will take some time (like, probably at least until tween years).

Think about what time you will be happy with long-term. Think into the school years even!

>>>Read: 6 Steps to Get Your Child to Sleep In Later in the Morning

Wake Time Can Change, But Start As You Mean to Go On

The fact that babies tend to hold to that wake time for many years doesn’t mean you can’t ever change the time your kiddo wakes up. You can work the time at a later age, but it is easier to manipulate it now.

The more flexible your child is naturally, the easier time you will have shifting what time they wake up. Some children have a super solid circadian rhythm. I have a couple of kids who naturally still wake up at the same time they did as babies.

I have a couple of other kids who shifted their morning wake up time easily as babies and still can vary quite a bit day-to-day when left to their own devices.

For tips on changing your daily routine, including morning wakeup time, read Tips for Shifting Your Schedule {Time Change, Time Zones}.

Work Around Your Natural Sleep Disposition

You will function best as a parent if you are at your best. It is not selfish to consider your own needs as you think about what time to start baby’s day.

Are you a morning person? If so, you could start your baby’s day earlier.

I am a morning person and wake early, but I preferred to start Brayden (my oldest) at 7 so that I had 1-2 hours in the morning before he got up.

If you are not a morning person, you would probably prefer a 7:30 or 8:00 waketime. You might even be able to get your baby to wake up at 8:30 AM.

It is okay to try and see if your baby can do a time that is ideal for you.

Work Around Baby’s Natural Sleep Disposition

Even more important than your natural sleep disposition is your baby’s natural sleep disposition. If your baby’s natural sleep rhythm is to wake up at 7 AM, you will make yourself miserable if you continually aim for 8:30 AM.

Get to know your baby and respect your baby’s needs.

Consider Your Daily Schedule Needs and Constraints

Your morning wakeup time will affect the rest of your day.

Therefore, you want that wakeup time to work with your daily goals, not against them.

Do you need to get baby up because you work? The morning wakeup time will be affected by that constraint.

Adjust things as you can to work with baby’s sleep disposition. For example, if your baby likes to sleep later, wait to get baby up at the very last minute before you leave for work.

Do you have a toddler to attend to in the morning? Toddlers are difficult and take a lot of focus. I often had a toddler and a newborn at the same time. I would work the morning routine around the needs of the different kids so I could attend to each one adequately.

That might mean you wake the baby up and take care of her before your toddler gets up. That might mean you get your toddler up first and take care of her before getting your baby up.

>>>Read: Planning Your Schedule for Multiple Children

Do you have older children you need to work around? Do you have school drop offs or pick up to work around in your nap schedule?

>>>Read: How To Maintain a Sleep Schedule with School Disruptions

Make sure your morning wake up time makes the rest of your day as easy as possible.

>>>Read: Managing Baby Plus Older Kids’ Activities

Work Around Your Daily Nap Schedule and Feeding Schedule

Start the day early enough that you can get all the feedings and naps your baby needs in before your desired bedtime.

You need to make sure you can get your baby down in time for the morning nap. That nap needs to be timed correctly to get the rest of your day right.

>>>Read: The Vital Importance of the First Nap

You also want to make sure you have enough time in your day to fit in all of the feedings you need to before your baby needs to go to bed for the night.

>>>Read: Understanding Baby Hunger Patterns

Take Bedtime Into Consideration

Make sure you think about bedtime in conjunction with thinking of a morning wake up time.

Bedtime is usually around 12 hours before your morning wakeup time, but can be 10-12 hours before.

You will need to work around your baby’s needs for bedtime, but you will also be working around the family’s schedule. For most of my babies, we had an ideal early bedtime in the 7 PM hour.

For my oldest, however, we had a later bedtime. We did this so he could see his dad each day, who was going to school full time and working part-time.

Going to bed later isn’t ideal, but there is a balance between sleep needs and family relationship needs.

>>>Read: Tips for Finding Your Child’s Ideal Bedtime

Start at Any Minute Point on the Clock

You don’t have to start at a half-hour increment. You can start at 7:10 or 7:15. You can even go wild and do 7:47 PM. You decide.

Consistency is Always Important

Whatever time you start, be consistent. Start at the same time within 30 minutes every day.

If you start at 7 AM, that doesn’t mean you can start anywhere from 6:30 or 7:30, it means 7-7:30 or 6:45-7:15, etc.

Stay within a 30 minute total swing.

While I was pregnant with Kaitlyn, Brayden started at 7:15 so I could sleep until 7:00 and get up and use the restroom, etc. before I got him up. His previous morning wake up time was 7:00. I adjusted it, staying within my 30-minute window, to better work with my current situation.

Do what works for you.

>>>Read: Why You Really Need to Start Baby’s Day At the Same Time

what time should baby wake in the morning pinnable image

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions people often have about baby’s morning wake up time.

Can I let my baby sleep in some mornings?

Yes, but be careful.

If your baby is super flexible, you can probably do this often and the schedule with be fine.

If your baby is super NOT flexible, you might find doing this one day out of 60 will throw off the next few weeks.

I recommend you do not let your baby sleep in until your baby’s schedule is quite solid and consistent.

Should I wake my baby up in the morning?

Yes! If it is time for your baby to get up, you should wake your baby up.

>>>Read: Tricks for Getting Baby on a Consistent Schedule

What if my baby wakes up at a different time each morning?

Focus on that first feeding of the day being consistent and make sure you wake baby up at the same time each day. If the baby is waking before you can get him, keep him in the crib until as close to your ideal time as possible.

If this continues, think about changing your goal for the morning wake up time. You might need to shift it earlier in order to get to a point of consistency. Once the consistency is happening, you can try to get your baby to sleep later.

What if my baby is waking up at 5 AM to eat?

Early morning waking can be very exhausting. Most babies do go through an early morning waking phase as they get their nighttime sleep down. It is very normal to have early wakings as your baby moves closer to sleeping through the night. I have the tips you need to solve this waking in the early morning hours as soon as possible:

>>>Read: 5-6 AM “Night” Wakings

How can I get my baby to sleep until 7 AM (or later)?

Be sure to see the post I linked in the section above. You will also want to read: Early Morning Wakings: What to do when baby wakes early

What if my baby wants to sleep later than I want to get him up?

If you can let your baby sleep in later, consider letting that happen. Sleep cycles will be smoother if you follow what is natural to the individual.

But if you cannot let your baby sleep in because of other constraints, simply wake your baby up when it is time.

When should I start focusing on a consistent morning wake up time?

Do this as soon as possible. There is not an age that is too young. Start with your newborn if you can.

The younger you start this, the more consistent your infant’s day will be. Your baby can get so consistent that they are a human alarm clock.

What if baby falls asleep right after the morning feeding?

In the newborn months, this is quite normal. In the book Healthy Sleep Habits, Weissbluth talks about how the morning nap is essentially an extension of night sleep.

That means that for many infants, they will nurse or drink their formula, get a diaper change, and go right back to sleep. This is normal for baby sleep patterns.

So long as your baby’s hours of daytime sleep is okay and you are able to stay on a 2.5-3 hour feeding schedule (or 4 hours if you are there) and your night time sleep is good for the age, I would not stress about this.

>>>Read: Adding Waketime to Your Newborn’s Day

Conclusion

Having a consistent morning wake up time is vital to establishing a consistent infant sleep schedule. Do not underestimate how important it is to have this part of your day consistent and solid.

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Poll Results: What time do you start baby’s day? (Waketime)
Results:
6:30 AM: 8 votes (12%)
7:00 AM: 23 votes (37%)
7:30 AM: 15 votes (24%)
8:00 AM: 12 votes (19%)
8:30 AM: 2 votes (3%)
9:00 AM: 2 votes (3%)
Total of 62 votes

Related Posts:

What Time To Start Baby's Day. What time should be baby's waketime each day? How to calculate and decide baby's perfect wakeup time. 

Reader Questions:

  • Amber said…
    Hello…I have yet another questions! Here I go…My daughter is almost 3 1/2 months old and has been STTN (going 7 – 9 hours straight) for at least a month now. Bedtime at 8:30 sleep until 6ish, eat, sleep until 8:30 or 9:00. The question is that she is starting to sleep longer at night (until 7 or 7:30) I DON’T want a waketime that early so she eats and goes back to sleep. Do I feed her again at 8:30 or 9 when she wakes for the day or do I start my 3 hour schedule at 7:00ish in the morning? Thanks!

    Babywise Mom said…
    I think you are going to have to start your day at 7:30 when she wakes. Once she gets to the point of sleeping 12 hours, you could set bedtime at 8:30 and sleep until 8:30. I wouldn’t start any later than 8:30 AM though. Until then, I would start the day and routine at 7:30.
  • Becky & Scott said…
    I just found you too! I’m sooo glad I did! I felt like I had no one to talk to about BW! My question is, at what point do you not set the morning wake-up time? Do you always? How do I know what he is capable of sleeping if I am waking him up? His dreamfeed is at 10pm and his wake up time is 7:00am. Sometimes he wakes for a feeding at 5:00am. Thanks!

    Babywise Mom said…
    I always set the morning waketime. I think that is a very important step in getting a consistent schedule from day to day (meaning naps are at the same time each day). When he has a feeding at 5, I would let him sleep in an extra 30 minutes if he will, but no longer. You want that metabolism to get hungry at the same time each day.Glad you found us! It is very helpful to have fellow BW people to hash things out with.
  • Catherine said…
    Hi Valerie, Just had a quick question:Is the waketime window 30 minutes on either side?For example, our waketime is 8. This morning my son woke at 7:30, so I just started the day. Sometimes he will wake between 5:30 and the 6 a.m. hour. (We are making great progress with sttn!) When that happens I will get him up at 8:30 to give more time between the feeds.Just wanted to make sure I was being consistent.

    Babywise Mom said…
    Catherine, No, it is a 30 minute variance. So if waketime is 8:00, you could do 7:30-8:00 or 7:45-8:15 or 8:00-8:30 for example. This variance can change over time. By that I mean that if you chose 8-8:30 right now, it doesn’t have to be that 3 months from now. You can change it based on her needs at the time.You can have off days if you need, but try to keep it consistent. A consistent waketime is a huge factor in having a consistent schedule from day to day.

  • bethers21 said…
    Val, Is it normal to have to wake a baby almost every morning? Once we were on a consistent schedule our waketime has always been 7 am (6:45 during the week). He goes to bed after his 7pm feeding with a 10pm DF. I just didn’t know if he should be waking on his own and needs more sleep or whether it’s completely normal to have to get them up. Thanks!

    bethers21 said…
    Sorry to post again…I wasn’t logged in to blogger the first time so didn’t get to check to be notified of any comments 🙂

    Babywise Mom said…
    I don’t know that it is normal as in common, but I certainly wouldn’t call it a problem 🙂 It is quite possible that he will wake on his own once the dreamfeed is dropped. It is also possible that he is just an awesome sleeper. I had to wake my daughter in the morning for a long time. Most days she is awake in the morning, though sometimes she still is asleep. Same for my 3 year old.
  • Erin Jensen said…
    Hi! I have sort of this same question but a little different. My baby goes down at 9 or 9:30 and waketime is 7:30 – 8:00 depending on how early I need to get into work. However he doesn’t usually wake on his own either and usually isn’t so happy to be getting up…does this mean he needs more sleep and I should put him down earlier? This would probably mean going down to 5 feedings which he would probably do ok with but I just don’t know. Oh he is 4 months old. Thanks!!!

    Babywise Mom said…
    I would put him down earlier. If he needs a 6th feeding, I would do a dreamfeed at 9:30 or 10:00 ish. It sounds like he is read for more sleep 🙂

    Erin Jensen said…
    Thanks! I will gradually start getting him down earlier and we’ll see how he does without a dreamfeed. A little more time in the evening with him sleeping will probably be nice for us too!

    Babywise Mom said…
    You are welcome! It will be very nice for you 🙂
  • Ikaika and Laura said…
    I had a question about waking early-my almost 4 month old goes down between 8-8:30 because that is when my 20 month old goes down. he eats right before bedtime but does not have a dreamfeed. he wakes anytime from 6-7:00 but i do not feed him until 12 hours from when he last ate to encourage him to sleep the whole 12 hours. he does not cry in his bed or anything he just plays and sucks his thumb. but then by the time i get him out to feed him he is pretty much ready to take a nap already. so we dont really have eat wake sleep it is more like eat change pamper sleep. is there anyway to encourage him to sleep until his first feeding?

    Babywise Mom said…
    Keep in mind that baby does not move to a possible 10-12 hours of sleep at night until weeks 16-24. So I personally wouldn’t try to force 12 hours out of him before 24 weeks old unless you are positive he can do it. Also, some kids don’t sleep 12 hours. 10 hours is okay too.
    See 10-12 Hours of Sleep
    If you prefer him to sleep in later to going to bed earlier, then I would put him to bed later. If you prefer the earlier bedtime, I would continue with that but them feed him when he wakes. He is doing a great job. Another option would be to add a dreamfeed at 10:30ish to get him to be able to go longer into the morning.

This post originally appeared on this blog in December 2007